Memorabilia from the German Occupation of the British Channel Islands, World War II
There were approximately 36,000 troops stationed in the Channel Islands during the Occupation so after the Islands' liberation in May 1945 there was literally thousands of tonnes of German equipment to dispose of.
Much of it was dumped and sealed up in the German tunnels around the Islands and left to rust away. Some was dumped over the cliffs into the sea and some used as scrap metal.
I have heard many of the elder generation talk about their excitement as young boys when they would go to gun sites or into the many deserted bunkers and tunnels to gather as much as they could carry and described it as an Aladdin's Cave for collectors.
Some of this gear survived and was kept as keepsakes and put up in lofts and attics to gather dust for many years.
My Grandfather Donald Le Gallais kept a few bits tucked away and passed them onto me when I was a young boy along with many fascinating stories of that time, one of which you can read here.
From 1943 the German troops were not even allowed to listen to the news on the radio as it was thought to be bad for morale.
"One day I got caught while I was testing a radio set for a farmer in his sitting room. A German officer walked in and I tried to hide behind the door but he pulled out his pistol and put it in my back. Then he saw what I was doing with the crystal set and he let me carry on. He said he wanted to hear the English news. Well, he wasn’t the Nazi type and he knew the Germans couldn’t win the war. He told the farmer that he wouldn’t say anything about the wireless because he was going to come back from time to time to listen to the English news with us. In the end he was giving us sets of headphones."
I still have most of these things in my collection and have swapped some bits with friends. As my interest has grown over the years I have more recently collected items from the UK, Europe and America. The world seems to have become a smaller place with the onset of the Internet and there are some great collecting sites on-line now as the interest and value of these items continues to increase.
In Original German Helmets a few odd bits will be offered for sale from time to time so please feel free to have a look and call back once in a while.
Visit the Occupation Collectables site here: www.originalgermanhelmets.com